Lawrie's walkoff home run leads Jays over Red Sox in 11th

The Canadian Press
9/5/2011 9:16:51 PM
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TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie continues to perform when the Toronto Blue Jays need him most.

The 21-year-old from Langley, B.C., hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the 11th inning Monday as Toronto (70-71) edged the Boston Red Sox (84-56) 1-0.

Lawrie blasted a 1-1 fastball from Dan Wheeler (2-2) into the seats in left-centre and leapt into his teammates' arms at home plate after rounding the bases.

"I don't really feel any pressure," Lawrie said. "I think it's just another at-bat. If you go up there thinking there's pressure you apply that on yourself, you're not going to have a good at-bat.

"The easiest thing to do is to stay within yourself and treat it like another at-bat. You try to do your best for the team and try to get a pitch you can handle and try to do some damage."

The rookie third baseman has now gone deep eight times since being promoted from triple-A Las Vegas and making his major-league debut on Aug. 5 in Baltimore.

"He's a tremendous athlete," Farrell said. "He doesn't get caught up in the moment as far as what happened previously. Those events are over. And he's about what can I do in this particular instance, in this pitch, this play defensively, offensively. And we've seen it not just today. This has been a re-occurring theme here."

The home run made a winner of Shawn Camp (3-3) and ended a three-game losing streak for Toronto.

Lawrie's heroics took some attention away from the performance of another 21-year-old, right-hander Henderson Alvarez who pitched six scoreless innings in a no decision.

Alvarez extended his runless string to 14 innings after holding the Red Sox to four hits before being removed after 95 pitches, and lowered his earned-run average to 2.95. This followed his previous outing in Baltimore where he pitched eight shutout innings for his first major-league victory.

"He threw the ball in off the plate to both lefties and righties, threw a lot of strikes, made a couple of big pitches in key spots," Farrell said. "He pitched like he has his last two or three starts. He did a very good job."

Alvarez was making his sixth major-league start and retired his first eight batters before Marco Scutaro's infield single in the third. Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 10 games with a double. Scutaro went to third and Alvarez ended the inning on Dustin Pedroia's grounder.

"He had tremendous movement, just natural movement," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "The ball was diving all over the place."

And when the ball was put in play Alvarez showed off his defensive abilities.

In the fifth inning, with Scutaro on second base, Alvarez snared a Jacoby Ellsbury comebacker. Scutaro slipped between second and third and Alvarez ran at him throwing to Lawrie, who tagged the ex-Jay and threw to shortstop Mike McCoy, who tagged Ellsbury sliding into second.

"I know (Ellsbury) is fast and right away when you get that out it's the next play and I know in that situation he's a quick guy and he would want to take the extra base so they can keep a guy in scoring position," Lawrie said.

Red Sox starter Josh Beckett was matching Alvarez pitch-for-pitch at the beginning of the game but had to leave with two out in the fourth with a sprained ankle.

"I felt it on the second to last pitch and then it felt a little bit different on the last pitch I threw," Beckett said. "I didn't feel it till those last two pitches. It's always concerning. That's my power leg. It's definitely stiff."

The victory also provided a nice welcome for Farrell who had missed the previous 10 games as he stayed home to rest after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

"The 10 days were somewhat of a helpless feeling watching on TV," Farrell said before the game.

The Blue Jays went 3-7 with bench coach Don Wakamatsu running the team, including a three-game sweep by the Yankees in a series that ended Sunday.

Although, nobody could score any runs before Lawrie's homer, both teams had chances to score.

Jonathan Papelbon struck out Adam Lind in the 10th with the bases loaded to send the game to the 11th and both teams threatened in the eighth.

The Red Sox had a chance in the top of the eighth after Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-out double to right against Casey Janssen. After David Ortiz was walked intentionally, Janssen caught Kevin Youkilis looking at a third strike.

In the home half of the inning, McCoy drew a walk with one out against Alfredo Aceves, who took over for Beckett. McCoy stole second before Aceves hit Eric Thames. Daniel Bard was called in from the bullpen and he retired Jose Bautista on a fly to right and struck out Lind.

Aceves came in for Beckett with Edwin Encarnacion at second with an infield hit and a stolen base and Lawrie batting with a 2-2 count.

Aceves' first pitch to Lawrie was a ball and Encarnacion stole third. Lawrie walked when he was ruled to have checked his swing but Jose Molina ended the inning with a fly to left.

Beckett allowed three hits and a walk while striking out six in 3 2-3 runless innings.

Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 27,573. ... Right-hander Dustin McGowan was activated from the 60-day disabled list for Monday's game and was back in the major leagues for the first time in more than three years. He is coming back from two shoulder surgeries. ... McCoy started at shortstop for the second game in a row with Yunel Escobar listed as day-to-day with a sore left wrist. ... Luis Perez (3-2, 3.77 earned-run average) will start Tuesday for Toronto against Boston's Jon Lester (14-6, 3.05 ERA).

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